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Airport buzzes with summer fly-in

July 13, 2003|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Few people get to show off projects they made in their basement, let alone have someone want to pose for a picture with it.

But Mike Langford's basement project was bigger than most. It was so big it had to move to the garage and then to an airport hangar.

Over eight years and with two sons to help, Langford built an RV 4 experimental aerobatic aircraft he had on display Saturday at the Hagerstown Regional Airport for the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 36 Summer Fly-In.

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"It's a lot of fun. It really is a sense of accomplishment," Langford said.

His sons, Mike, 16, and John, 13, helped him.

Langford, 51, of Frederick, Md., said he had dreamed of building his own experimental aircraft since he was John's age. As a youth, he built model planes, and later he constructed radio-controlled planes.

Langford said he has flown his plane to Niagara Falls, Indianapolis and Kitty Hawk, N.C. Langford said he has done loops, rolls and other aerobatic maneuvers in his plane.

Fly-in officials did not know how many people attended Saturday because the event is free so there are no tickets to count, Fly-In Director Gary Hartle said. The event appeared to be drawing a good crowd as it had sold more food than in previous years, he said.

The two-day fly-in usually attracts about 2,000 people if the weather is good, Hartle said.

The fly-in featured about 150 planes, including antiques - those built before Dec. 31, 1946 - and classics - built between Dec. 31, 1946, and Dec. 31, 1956, Hartle said.

Event co-sponsor Hagerstown Aircraft Services Inc. was showing off a newer model - the Symphony 160, a two-seater with instrument flight rules that the company recently started selling under the dealership name East Coast Symphony, salesman Ed Levine said. The plane sells for $140,000.

Bree Linton, 10, said she liked the bigger World War II era planes the most.

The National Capitol Squadron for Commemorative Air Force had a high-wing L-5 Stinson Sentinel, a Vultee BT-13 basic trainer and a unit member's T-6 advanced trainer on display, unit leader Bill Douglas said.

The L-5s were used for supply operations, rescues, scouting and moving generals behind enemy lines, Douglas said.

Bree also liked the smaller light plane she rode for the first time Saturday as part of the Experimental Aircraft Association's Young Eagles Program. In the program, children ages 8 to 17 can fly free this weekend as the association tries to spur youth interest in aviation, Hartle said.

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